Running Your Home Generator This Fall

Fall is here, and that means more weather-related power outages are in the near future. While every season brings its own unique weather events, fall is the best time to prepare for the winter ahead. Since we have snow, ice, wind and chilly temperatures to look forward to, it’s never too early to start preparing.

We’ve never been more dependent on electricity, with numerous computers, televisions, and appliances plugged in and used nearly 24/7. The thought of going without heat in the dead of winter, even for an hour, puts chills down our spine. No thank you!

One of the best ways to avoid the side effects of a power outage, whether it’s caused by the weather, an electrical issue or some other rare event, is to have a portable or whole-home generator. It can keep necessary appliances like your refrigerator, HVAC system and plumbing running and save you money in the long run.

Safety First

Safety should always be a priority when working with anything electrical, especially portable generators. Here are some tips to ensure you, your family and your home stay safe during the next outage.

  • Run your generator in an open space. Never run a portable generator in your house, garage or any enclosed area. Poisonous fumes, like odorless and colorless carbon monoxide, can build up and become a lethal hazard. Always run a generator outdoors with plenty of ventilation.
  • Find a clean and level surface. Fall means leaves are on the ground, along with other debris. Clear the area of leaves or sticks to avoid fire hazards. Running your generator on a level surface is essential. If placed on an incline, the moving parts in the generator may not stay adequately oiled, causing them to fail.
  • Protect your generator from wet weather. Since rain, snow and ice are often the weather elements that bring power outages, you may find the need to run your generator during these conditions. However, water and electricity can be a dangerous combination. There are canopies available specifically designed for generators that protect them from wet weather and keep them well-ventilated while covered.
  • Cool before you refuel. When a generator has been running for hours on end, it is certain to become very hot. Be sure to allow enough time for the generator to cool off before adding fuel. Spilling gasoline onto a hot engine could ignite a fire.
  • Never “back feed” your home. Running a generator directly into a convenience outlet, otherwise known as “back feeding,” is a hazardous practice. It is even illegal to do in some localities. Backfeeding can damage appliances or, even worse, electrocute utility workers working on power lines. Installing a manual or automatic transfer switch is a recommended alternative.
  • Inspect for damages. Before running your generator, especially if it’s been in storage or hasn’t been used in a while, check for any damages or necessary repairs. Rust, corrosion, frayed wires and even dirty air filters are all signs to fix and maintain your generator before use.

Upgrade to a Whole House Generator

Unlike portable generators, whole-house generators are installed and connected to your home’s circuitry. A whole house generator often acts like an insurance policy, protecting everything that matters to you most when the power goes out. Additional benefits include:

  • Increased safety. While a portable generator can provide you with power when you need it most, it can often only operate for a few hours at a time. In contrast, standby generators can provide energy for multiple days if needed.
  • More power. Whole house generators also provide more power output, helping to keep bigger appliances like your washer and dryer up and running. Portable generators are smaller and, therefore, can only give so much energy.
  • Added convenience. When the power goes out, a whole house generator immediately kicks in. This can make it so you don’t even realize the power went out in the first place and doesn’t require you to set it up and power it on in the first place.
  • Little to no noise. Portable generators are known for being quite noisy (and sometimes smelly due to fuel outtake). On the flip side, standby generators offer a quiet, weatherproof solution you and your family won’t even notice.

No matter which generator you use, it’s essential to keep it maintained. Just like maintaining your other appliances, generator service is necessary to ensure proper use and function. Generator maintenance also lengthens the appliance’s life expectancy.

Need a generator installed, serviced or repaired before the weather turns bad? Give Bradley Mechanical a call today. Our certified technicians have extensive experience and have provided generator advice, repairs and installations for over 50 years. We can ensure your home stays powered this fall, winter, spring and summer. Keep your family safe during power outages, and give yourself peace of mind with the right generator.

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Seasonal & Weather Related TopicsTo Keep Your Family Comfortable